Flickr Facebook instagram-ico

Change language:

  • Where the history lives and the soul gets peace
  • Hike at the aurland mountain with guide
  • View from Stegastein Sogn og Fjordane
  • Aurlandsfjord
  • Flåmsbanen
  • Fretheimhotel christmas lobby
gammel-inngang-sepiafixa2 sort hvit

In 1870, Lord Wigram leased the fishing rights to the river Flåmselva. The first foreign tourists that came to Flåm were avid sports fishermen who were lured by the large salmon and trout in the river. Many wealthy Englishmen followed Lord Wigram's example, and later wealthy Bergeners also came to enjoy the area's excellent fishing. It was not uncommon for a lucky angler to catch ten salmon on a good day.

These fishermen often stayed at the farm of Christen Fretheim, the richest man in the village, who was enterprising and physically imposing. He had taken over the farm in 1879; in 1890 he established a post office, and five years later he started a shipping freight service.

The guests enjoyed the hospitality of Fretheim Farm, and soon a hotel was built to cater to their needs. Not surprisingly, the villagers referred to the first building of Fretheim Farm as the English Villa.

Soon, the hotel rooms were being booked by eager fishermen, tourists and construction workers. So great great was the demand for transportation that in 1902 Christen Fretheim opened a posting inn. He employed ten full-time coachmen and had 14 horses in his stall.

As early as 1908, 79 ships carrying a total of 10,202 tourists called at the village of Gudvangen, at the head of the Nærøyfjord. The local boats carried an additional 4,500 people "to the heart of the grandest scenery, with a succession of marvellous views."

Christen Fretheim married the young miss Hertzberg, but tragically she died prematurely in 1903, before they had any children. In 1909, Marthe Fretheim came to assist her cousin Christen. She was an excellent organiser and soon took charge of tasks inside and outside the hotel. Christen had little time or concern for details such as feeding the farm's pigs or getting rid of manure, but fortunately Marthe managed such essential tasks with a skilled hand.

She enjoyed gardening, and her hotel garden soon became renowned. The guests keenly appreciated Marthe's hospitality and good care. When the caravan of coaches carried 10–15 guests up the mountain, Marthe had made sure that a layer of insulating newspapers was tied around their clothes, and that each of them was equipped with a hot water bottle. Marthe Fretheim took great care to ensure the comfort of each of her guests, and in the evening she would guide them up to their rooms, candle in hand. She treated her employees with the same care and respect.

Although Christen Fretheim died in 1916, Marthe stayed on at the hotel the rest of her life. Well, some believe she still has a hand in making sure the hotel is friendly and well run. Legend has it she makes a round every night, seeing that all is well with the guests at her beloved hotel.

Sitemap